VICTIG Healthcare Sanction Checks
The well-being of a healthcare facility hinges upon the quality of its employees. When hiring people to handle matters of life and death, organizations within the healthcare industry must be especially selective — and medical sanctions searches are some of the most important checks to remember to ensure regulatory compliance and high-caliber staff members. This article will discuss what healthcare sanctions searches are, why they’re important, and how you can maintain compliance within your healthcare clinic.
What Is a Health Care Sanctions Search?
A sanction is a type of penalty for noncompliance with government programs. If a medical worker has ever committed fraud or abuse in the healthcare industry, they are added to a health care sanctions list — the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) kept by the US Department of Health and Human Services. This list bars offenders from receiving payment from federal health care programs for items or services they have rendered, and even prevents them from working for Medicare- or Medicaid-providing health care institutions.
If a healthcare organization offering care under federal programs like Medicare or Medicaid hires an individual who is listed on the LEIE, they could incur hefty monetary penalties or jail sentences. Thus, sanction checking is a crucial part of the background screening process. It checks for a candidate’s name on over a thousand government employment-ban lists for any suspensions or other disciplinary actions, including the LEIE and many more. This step mitigates the risk of hiring workers who may jeopardize your organization.
By conducting the search, you can find out who took the disciplinary action against the health care worker, how long the employment ban will remain in effect, and sometimes, why the person was added to the list in the first place.
Why Is It Important to Conduct Healthcare Sanction Screening?
1. To protect patients, staff members, and your organizational health as a whole
Health care centers rely on word-of-mouth referrals and positive public perception to survive. Fraud and abuse are serious offenses that have the potential to ruin the reputation of a healthcare organization. A person may be added to the LEIE for the following types of convictions and felony crimes:
- Patient neglect, abuse, or medical misconduct
- Financial mismanagement
- Theft of medical equipment or medicine
- Medicare/Medicaid or other health care-related fraud
- Illegal prescription or distribution of controlled substances
2. To avoid OIG-imposed fines for inadvertently hiring sanctioned persons
Failing to conduct a thorough health care sanction check can lead to a mishire. When you do business with a sanctioned person, the OIG has the power to subject your institution to a $10,000 fine for each occurrence.
3. To ensure future eligibility for federal benefits and programs
Federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid ensure that hospitals still get paid for caring for patients who have no private insurance coverage. Without these programs, hospital staff goes uncompensated for care rendered to people who cannot pay. If you want to ensure your eligibility for government-sponsored insurance, you must be diligent in your hiring process. Otherwise, you could hire an excluded individual and disqualify yourself from these federal programs.